Salama, Jaffa

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PikiWiki Israel 5685 old mosque in salame.jpg
The mosque in Salamah, now in Kfar Shalem
Salamah is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic سلمة
Also spelled Selmeh
Subdistrict Jaffa
Coordinates 32°02′56.94″N 34°48′18.03″E / 32.0491500°N 34.8050083°E / 32.0491500; 34.8050083Coordinates: 32°02′56.94″N 34°48′18.03″E / 32.0491500°N 34.8050083°E / 32.0491500; 34.8050083
Palestine grid 131/161
Population 3,691 (1931)
Area 6,782 dunams
Date of depopulation 25 April 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Tel Aviv

Salamah (Arabic: سلمة‎) was a Palestinian Arab village, located five kilometers east of Jaffa, that was depopulated in the lead up the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The town was named for Salamah Abu Hashim, a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. His tomb, two village schools, and ten houses from among the over 800 houses that had made up the village, are all that remain of the structures of the former village today.[2][3]


Ottoman rule[edit]

In 1596, under Ottoman rule, Salamah was a village in the nahiya of Ramla (liwa of Gaza), with a population of 94. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat and barley, as well as on other types of property, such as goats and beehives.[4] In the late nineteenth century, the village was described as being built of adobe brick, with a few gardens and wells.[5]

In 1931, the town had a population of 3,691 inhabitants according to a census conducted by the British Mandate authorities.[6]

An elementary school for boys was opened in 1920, and by 1941 it had 504 boys enrolled. In 1936 an elementary school for girls was opened, which had 121 girls enrolled by 1941.[7]

In 1944/45 the town had 6,730 inhabitants, of whom 6,670 were Muslims and 60 Christians.[8]

1948 War[edit]

On 4 December 1947 a band of 120–150 gunmen from Salame attacked the neaerby kibbutz Efal. The settlers, together with Palmah reinforcements, beat them off.[9] On 8 December 1947 Arabs attacked the Tel Aviv neighbourhood Hatiqwa. Some of the Jewish residents were killed. Most of the attackers were Salame residents. [10]

In January and February 1948 Palmah raiders destroyed houses in Yazur and Salamah. Their operational orders for Salamah were:

The villagers do not express opposition to the actions of the [Arab] gangs and a great many of the youth even provide [the (Arab) irregulars with] active cooperation ... The aim is ... to attack the northern part of the village ... to cause deaths, to blow up houses and to burn everything possible. A qualification stated: 'Efforts should be made to avoid harming women and children.'[11]

Morris goes on to explain, "The destruction of most of the sites was governed by the cogent military consideration that, should they be left intact, irregulars, or, come the expected invasion, Arab regular troops, would reoccupy and use them as bases for future attacks. An almost instant example of this problem was provided at Qastal in early April."[12]

The village of Salamah finally got depopulated in the weeks leading up to the 1948 Arab–Israeli war, during Haganah's offensive Mivtza Hametz (Operation Hametz) 28–30 April 1948. This operation was held against a group of villages east of Jaffa, including Salamah. According to the preparatory orders, the objective was to "opening the way [for Jewish forces] to Lydda". Though there was no explicit mention of the prospective treatment of the villagers, the order spoke of "cleansing the area" [tihur hashetah].[13] The final operational order stated: "Civilian inhabitants of places conquered would be permitted to leave after they are searched for weapons." It cautioned against looting and "'undisciplined acts [maasei hefkerut], robbery, or harming holy places.'" Prisoners were to be moved to headquarters.[14]

During 28–30 April, the Haganah took Salamah without a fight, the HIS attributed the non-resistance of the inhabitants to prior Arab defeats and added that "it is clear that the inhabitants have no stomach for war and ... would willingly return to their villages and accept Jewish protection."[15]

According to an AP article of 1 May 1948,

Jewish troops moved into Salamah, key Arab position in the Jaffa perimeter, without firing a shot after maneuvering the Arabs into a position where they had no choice but to withdraw.

Streets and houses in Salama were deserted when the Jews arrived.

The Arab troops and the 12,000 civilians there had fled down a narrow escape corridor which the Jews purposely had kept open.[16]

When David Ben-Gurion visited Salamah on 30 April he encountered "only one old blind woman".[17] A day or two later, "hooligans" from Tel Aviv's Hatikva Quarter torched several buildings.[18]

Settlement of the abandoned village with Jewish war refugees, and later by new immigrants, began two weeks after its conquest.[19] On 10 December 1948, Salamah and some of its agricultural land was annexed to Tel Aviv.[19] Today the village site is part of the Kfar Shalem neighborhood of Tel Aviv.[3]

See also[edit]

People from Salamah[edit]


  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p. XVIII, village #208. Also gives the cause of depopulation.
  2. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p.254, 255
  3. ^ a b "Welcome to Salamah". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  4. ^ Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977), Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 154. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 254.
  5. ^ SWP, Vol. II, p.254. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 254
  6. ^ Jaffa District Stats from Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine (1970) Hadawi, Sami. The Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center
  7. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 255.
  8. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 254, 255.
  9. ^ Morris, 2008, p. 102
  10. ^ Moshe Naor (21 August 2013). Social Mobilization in the Arab/Israeli War of 1948: On the Israeli Home Front. Routledge. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-1-136-77648-9. 
  11. ^ 12: Battalion OC to platoons, etc., 'Operational Order', undated but from early January 1948, and unsigned, 'Report on Salama Operation', 3 Jan. 1948, both in IDFA (=Israel Defense Forces and Defence Ministry Archive) 922∖75∖∖1213. Quoted in Morris, 2004, pp. 343–344.
  12. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 345
  13. ^ HGS\Operations to Alexandroni, etc., "Orders for Operation "Hametz", 26 Apr. 1948. IDFA 6647\49\\15. Cited in Morris, 2004, p. 217, 286
  14. ^ Operation Hametz HQ to Givati, etc., 27 Apr. 1948, 14:00 hours, IDFA 67\51\\677. See also Alexandroni to battalions, 27 Apr. 1948, IDFA 922\75\\949. Cited in Morris, 2004, pp. 217, 286
  15. ^ Alexandroni to brigades, etc., 8 May 1948, IDFA 2323\49\\6. Cited in Morris, 2004, pp. 217, 286
  16. ^ Carter L. Davidson, AP (1 May 1948). "Truce in Effect Temporarily In Jerusalem". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  17. ^ 372: Entry for 30 Apr. 1948, David Ben-Gurion Yoman Hamilhama (the war diary) II, 377. Quoted in Morris, 2004, p. 217
  18. ^ 373: Unsigned logbook entry, "2.5.48", HA (=Haganah Archive) 105∖94. Quoted in Morris, 2004, p. 217
  19. ^ a b Arnon Golan (1995), The demarcation of Tel Aviv-Jaffa's municipal boundaries, Planning Perspectives, vol. 10, pp. 383–398.


External links[edit]